When we return from commercials, Kaylee is chasing River through the cargo bay. They're both giggling. I guess one of the side effects of River's treatment is that it turns her into a seven-year-old. I mean, it's cute and all, but it's not entirely age-appropriate play for these two. It again makes me wonder if River had emotional development problems even before the experimentation. On a stairwell landing overlooking the bay, Mal and Inara are having an argument about some client who wants to meet with her. Inara explains that the councilor is an important political figure and a very private person. Mal understands this and exposits that this is why he wants to meet with Inara on the ship rather than having her come visit him. See, I have to emphasize the pronouns Mal is using, because this is how they're setting up the "surprising twist" that the councilor is (spoiler!) a woman. Why Inara doesn't simply say that the councilor is actually a she is obviously due to the fact that it would deny us the ridiculous responses we're going to get when the crew finally sees her. Mal asks if the ship is too dirty for him or something. Inara explains that she just wants to make sure that the councilor is totally "comfortable." She wants to see to it that they get complete privacy.
River and Kaylee continue to run around the cargo bay. Mal looks down at them and observes, "Ah, the pitter-patter of tiny feet in huge combat boots. SHUT UP!" Heh. Mal tells Inara that nobody's going to board the ship without him meeting him first. He jokes that Inara shouldn't worry about him starting another swordfight. Inara says she'd appreciate it if he made sure the rest of the crew doesn't "ogle" the client. Of course, Mal doesn't even wonder why she's afraid this would happen. River and Kaylee run up the stairs and past the two of them. Mal shouts after them that somebody's going to fall and die and he's not going to clean up the mess. Kaylee says that River stole her apple. Inara points out that Jayne bought them all a whole crate of apples. Apples? I was going make some comment about how that seems a rather strange gesture for Jayne if he's secretly trying to make amends of some sort for his betrayal, but Jayne is pretty much all about food, violence, and sex (if he's lucky), so giving them apples is probably a big gesture for him. Kaylee finally catches up to River in the dining area. She snatches the apple away from River, who sits on a chair, gasping and spent. I'm sure some dirty-minded people could find some sort of lesbian subtext in this scene, but those people should be ashamed of themselves. They're just girls playing around! Does everything have to be about sex? Oh, I'm just kidding. Everything in this episode very nearly is about sex. Kaylee holds up the apple triumphantly and declares, "No power in the 'verse can stop me!" Really? Let me introduce you to Ms. Gail Berman.